That's me and my camera, on the road in North Dakota, trying to shoot pictures of those beautiful rolled hay bales that are everywhere in that landscape. For a week we've been travelling across the country to St. Louis (our current location). The trip has been fantastic, with so many highlights. We came across the lower Cascade range in Washington into the fully-ripe fruit producing area around Wenatchie, where we stocked up on the most crunchy-delicious apples I can ever remember eating. That first day we made it all the way to Missoula, Montana - wow!
The next morning we took a delightful detour to the little town of Basin, where we met a fabulous group of women artists and musicians, thanks to our new friend Bryher who owns a little cafe there, and is the sister of my dear friend Mary. This little community has put together a Women Artist's Refuge, a retreat center where artists can go and stay for months at a time and work. In a nutshell, what we can say about Basin is .... We'll Be Back (and soon)!
Montana, of course, was heartbreakingly gorgeous. We drank in the luscious scenery, and wildlife (elk, sandhill cranes). That second afternoon we had a little adventure. We stopped in Billings for gas, and when Daniella turned the key in the car there was a huge BOOM from our vehicle and the engine was dead. We were stunned, and frightened, but eventually discovered that our battery had simply exploded. The plastic on top was all cracked open, and we could see battery acid roiling and steaming inside - scary! We called AAA and were towed to a local Sears store (mind you, this was Sunday of Labor Day weekend). They changed the battery, tested the car, and determined that there were no further problems, so off we went again. Wow! We stayed that second night in Miles City, MT - on the far eastern side of the state.
One sad thing that we noticed all the way across Washington, Idaho, and Montana is that the evergreen trees are dying. Everywhere, there are dead trees and dying trees amongst the green ones. We've heard that global warming is creating new conditions in the forests that weaken the trees, allow beetles to attack them, etc. There is also the excessive heat that these states have been experiencing, along with a shortage of rain. It was shocking to see it, however, and very worrisome to imagine where it might lead. At the very least, it increases the fire danger considerably. At worst, it threatens all of us.